2nd Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 149, Issue 54

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, Speaker pro tempore

The Late Right Honourable Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray, P.C., C.C.

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, today I also rise to pay my respects to my mentor and friend, Herb Gray. All of us here remember Herb Gray as an exceptional politician who served his community well, so well, in fact, that he was re-elected time and time again, making him the longest continuously serving member of Parliament in Canadian history.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Herb Gray the man. For those of us who knew Herb, we would remember him as a thoughtful, compassionate man who cared deeply about his community. But the secret to Mr. Gray’s success was that he would give anybody who asked a piece of his undivided attention. Mr. Gray’s office door was always open to anybody who wanted to talk.

I remember coming to Ottawa before I was appointed to the Senate and walking into Mr. Gray’s office. When you entered his office, it was as if the entire world faded away. It was not just that the world faded away from you, you could also see it fade away from him as well. All that was left was you and Mr. Gray, and he was there, ready to listen to anything you wanted to tell him.

Mr. Gray may not always agree with your opinion, but he was always happy that you held one. He was the same both in public and in private. I know this because I have observed Herb and his wife Sharon publicly holding differing positions on a number of important issues.

Sharon, for those of us who know her, is a very strong woman who has flourished alongside her husband. Like Sharon, Herb Gray was forever an optimist, and like Herb Gray, Sharon is a strong feminist. The work she has done both as a lawyer and in the field of health care is a testament to their relationship. Having met Herb Gray at the age of 19, they blossomed together throughout the years.

Honourable senators, Herb Gray has left us with an incredible legacy, which we can all learn from. But if we are to take one thing away from his life, it would be the value of taking the time to listen to one another.

I know that you will all join me today to honour the life and legacy of the Right Honourable Herb Gray and send our condolences to his wife Sharon and their two children, Elizabeth and Jonathan.

Rest in peace, my friend.


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